Adopting a positive attitude can be an effective way to approach revising your short stories. Instead of looking at the revisions as a chore, think of it as an opportunity to make improvements and add new elements to your story. Most editors and writers agree that revising a story is a process of discovery and you may find new ideas and unexpected plot turns as you reread and rewrite.
When beginning the revision process, it helps to read your story from start to finish. As you read, make notes in the margins with questions or comments you have about the characters, plot points, or dialogue in your short story editing. You may also want to make a list of any changes that should be made. This helps you identify where the story can use more work and which parts are working well.
To help you get started with the revision process, here are some creative strategies that can create a stronger version of your story:
1. Change the Point of View
If you wrote your story in the third person, try writing it in the first person to give readers an intimate peek into the character’s thoughts and feelings. Conversely, if you wrote your story in the first person, switch it to the third person for added objectivity.
2. Add a Flashback
A flashback can provide readers with background information about a character or an event that occurs in the story. It can also add texture and complexity to the plot line. Readers can gain more insight into the characters and their motivations as the story progresses. This is also an effective way to build suspense and keep readers engaged.
3. Vary Your Sentence Structure
Try using longer sentences to slow down the pacing of a scene or shorter sentences for faster-paced scenes. Also, look for ways to combine sentences and break up long blocks of text to make it easier to read. To make your story more dynamic, use a strong verb instead of an adverb and try to avoid passive voice.
4. Eliminate Unnecessary Words
Once you’ve completed your initial revision, go back through the text and look for any words that can be eliminated or replaced with better words. Unnecessary words are often referred to as “filler” words, and they can be detrimental to a story’s impact.
5. Flesh Out Your Characters
Take time to explore your characters and make sure that their traits, motivations, and actions are consistent throughout the story. This will make them more relatable to readers and help you build a stronger connection with them. Capturing the nuances of a character’s personality can be a great way to add depth and complexity to your story.
Why Most People Struggle With Revising Short Stories
When it comes to revising a short story, many writers feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the task. After all, editing can be tedious and time-consuming work. However, with the right approach and creative strategies, revising your stories doesn’t have to be a daunting process. Here’s the reason why most people struggle with revising short stories:
1. Fear of Negative Reviews
Most writers are afraid of criticism and may be hesitant to make changes based on feedback. This can lead to an unwillingness to revise, even when necessary. Having negative reviews can be difficult for any writer, but it’s important to remember that constructive criticism can ultimately help you improve your story.
2. Lack of Motivation
Writers are often eager to share their stories with others, and the prospect of revising them can seem like a chore. It’s important to remind yourself why you’re revising your story and the value it can bring to readers. Because of the importance of the revision process, it’s important to stay motivated and keep your eyes on the prize. You may face a few bumps in the road, but the end result will be worth it.
3. Fear of Change
Some writers may have a hard time making changes because they are afraid to deviate from their original vision. However, revising your story gives you an opportunity to explore new ideas and make adjustments that could potentially improve the final product. Change is a good thing, and it’s essential for the process of refining your story.
Writers may strive for perfection when it comes to their stories, but this can lead to an inability to make decisions about what should stay and what should be eliminated. It helps to set realistic goals and remind yourself that your story doesn’t have to be perfect. Sometimes, a little imperfection can add character and charm to your story.
5. Difficulty Identifying Areas to Improve
Finding the right balance between what needs to be included or omitted from your story can be challenging. It’s important to remember that every sentence, scene, and character should contribute something meaningful to the overall plot. If something isn’t adding value, it should be eliminated or revised.
6. Time Constraints
Revising a short story can be difficult if you don’t have the time to dedicate to it. It’s important to schedule enough time for revision and make it a priority. Even if you only have a few minutes each day, every little bit counts and will help you make the necessary changes.
Having your story critiqued and revised is an important part of the writing process. By understanding the reasons why most people struggle with revising short stories, you can be better prepared to take on this task more effectively and efficiently. With some dedication and hard work, you can create something extraordinary that readers will enjoy.
Keep in mind that fear of negative reviews, lack of motivation, fear of change, perfectionism, difficulty identifying areas to improve, and time constraints can all contribute to writers struggling with revising their stories. With the right approach, you can make any necessary changes to ensure that your story will be enjoyable for readers. By understanding the various obstacles you may face in this journey, you can look forward to a successful revision process that results in a great story.